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In the News
Lady in Carmel-by-the-Sea, A Lady in London, January 13, 2014
Cantinetta Luca - ristorante squisito by Tammy Neal, 65 Degrees Magazine, Spring 2013
A Brief And Opinionated Guide To Monterey County, Carmel, And Big Sur, California by Ann Abel, Forbes.com, March 18, 2013
Central Coast cooking classes dish up big fun, flavor by Christine Delsol, SFGate, February 20, 2013
Sampling Monterey County's Bounty by David Armstrong, Alaska Airlines, February 2013
Carmel offers gifts that can't be wrapped by Jeanne Cooper, SFGate, December 11, 2012
Carmel's Cantinetta Luca - Authentic Italian Flavors, Global Adventures, November 2012
Coming Soon: La Maialata V at Cantinetta Luca by Off the Menu, November 21, 2012
True Italian Food Artists by Larry Harland, Carmel Magazine, November 2012
Giuseppe returns to Luca, Carmel Pine Cone, November 9, 2012
Off the Menu: Monterey's Bistro Moulin comes out on top when it comes to favorite restaurants by Raul N., Monterey Herald, October 31, 2012
After last week's review of Cibo, I got to thinking whether any other restaurants around town had taken on the challenge of crafting an Italian dinner that's both rustic and refined.
As I sat down to a long overdue dinner at Cantinetta Luca, I realized I already knew the answer: yes — and resoundingly well at that. At Cantinetta Luca, chef Jason Balestrieri's cuisine honors Italian tradition, but gives it a modern, fresh feel.
The best bite from dinner was the sardine appetizer — crostini topped with grilled sardines, tomatoes, grapes, capers, shallots and arugula. I loved the combination of bitter arugula, sweet shallots and briny capers, all accented with a bite of acid.
The evening's special pizza — fig, gorgonzola and prosciutto, topped with arugula — was superb. And the entrée addition for the night — braised pork cheeks with gnocchi and butternut squash — was a rich, savory feast of fall flavors.
For dessert, we finished with a decadent chocolate semifreddo with citrus and milk jam.
That delicious dinner at Cantinetta Luca wiped away the sad memories of my disappointing experience at Cibo a couple nights earlier, proving that in the right hands, rustic Italian food can be a gourmet experience.
Cantinetta Luca is on Dolores Street, between Ocean and Seventh avenues in Carmel. 625-6500.www.cantinettaluca.com.
Grand Central: Ciao Bella! by Gillian Flyn, Riviera San Diego, October 2012
Cantinetta Luca & Salumeria Luca: The Down-Low Diner, by Allyson Thommen, See Monterey Blog, August 27, 2012
Dose of Vitamin P: Cantinetta Luca Salume Selection, By Joshua Lurie, Food GPS, April 17, 2012
Tapas Time!, by Raul N. Off the Menu, Monterey Herald, March 28, 2012
Looking to try a delicious dessert closer to home? I enjoyed a mighty tasty ricotta cheesecake ($6) at Carmel's Cantinetta Luca on Monday night.
The ricotta gave this cheesecake a velvety smooth texture. Topping a dessert with fennel might sound strange to some, but cooking down the fennel brought out its sweet, licorice undertones, while keeping a little hint of something savory.
And the pairing with a light tangerine sorbet made the perfect sweet finish to a delightful dinner.
Best Restaurant of Carmel 2012 - Cantinetta Luca, MC Weekly Readers Poll 2012, March 15, 2012
Top 100 bites: Local dishes you've got to try before you die, By Mike Hale and Raul N., Monterey Herald, January 31, 2012
· Pumpkin ravioli with prosciutto and sage brode, toasted breadcrumbs and saba at Cantinetta Luca in Carmel
· Burrata cheese and crostini at Cantinetta Luca in Carmel
· Olive oil gelato at Salumeria Luca in Carmel
Feeling Cured: Salumeria Luca unfurls an impressive assemblage of Italian charcuterie, sandwiches and other treats, by Ulia Zettie, MC Weekly, December 22, 2011
New masters revive an age-old craft, By Pete Rerig, Edible Monterey, Winter 2011
Lady Fates: A search for foodie meaning, from school lunch to Brendan Jones’ new Lokal restaurant in Carmel Valley by Mark C. Anderson, MC Weekly, December 15, 2011
La Mailata IV: Celebration of the Pig, by Elaine Giuliano, Edible Monterey Bay, 2011
Off the Menu: Cantinetta Luca's delicious La Maialata pig dinner happens only one night a year, by Raul N. Off the Menu, Monterey Herald, December 15, 2011
The arrival of fall means pumpkin and squash galore at many restaurants, by Raul N. Off the Menu, Monterey Herald, November 3, 2011
Mike Hale, Grub Hunter: Embracing the art of charcuterie, Monterey Herald, October 12, 2011
Italian deli opens in Carmel by ELAINE GIULIANO, The Californian, October 7, 2011
A search for foodie meaning, from school lunch to Brendan Jones’ new Lokal restaurant in Carmel Valley by Mark C. Anderson, MC Weekly, September 29, 2011
Carmel and Monterey make their mark on fine dining by Michael Bauer, SF Chronicle, September 18, 2011
Tips from a seasoned grubster by Mike Hale, Herald, August 31, 2011
Chewing through Car Week and a salumeria to swear by. By Mark C. Anderson, MC Weekly, August 25, 2011